Who Can Be Held Liable After a Bus Accident in NYC?

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    New York City’s bustling streets are frequently navigated by an extensive network of buses, serving as a crucial mode of transportation for millions. However, when accidents involving these large vehicles occur, determining liability is often a complex process.

    What makes these cases difficult is the various parties that can be held liable, depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident. While this can be challenging, it also provides multiple paths to compensation. In many cases, several parties could be held liable for your bus accident. Still, special rules come into play depending on who you are suing, which could cause issues with your claim. Fortunately, our lawyers are intimately familiar with the rules involved in getting justice for our clients from NYC bus companies and can help you overcome the challenges in your case.

    Call The Carrion Law Firm at (718) 841-0083 to receive a free case review with our New York City bus accident lawyers.

    Can I Sue the Bus Driver Directly for a New York City Bus Accident?

    Bus drivers in New York City have a duty to prioritize safety and exercise reasonable care when operating their vehicles. This duty of care extends to all passengers, pedestrians, and other drivers on the road.

    After an accident, the bus driver might be liable for any injuries or damages incurred. In fact, the driver’s employer can usually be held accountable for its driver’s negligence. Our New York City bus accident attorneys have the experience to help you answer the question of liability and bring the negligent party to justice. If the driver’s negligent actions, such as speeding or distracted driving, are found to have caused the accident, they can typically be sued for numerous damages.

    Can a Commercial Bus Company Be Sued for a Bus Accident in New York City?

    Commercial bus companies operating in New York City are subject to stringent state and federal regulations that enforce specific safety standards and operational protocols. These regulations are designed to ensure the safety of passengers and other road users by covering a wide range of aspects such as driver qualifications, working hours, vehicle maintenance, and inspections.

    For instance, commercial bus companies must ensure that their drivers meet specific requirements such as having a valid Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and passing a medical examination. The drivers are also required to adhere to specific working hours to prevent fatigue and ensure they are alert while operating the bus.

    In addition to driver qualifications, commercial bus companies must also ensure that their vehicles are well-maintained and regularly inspected. This includes checking the brakes, tires, and other critical components to ensure they are in good condition and working correctly.

    However, when commercial bus companies fail to adhere to these regulations, they can be held liable for negligence. As a result, victims can usually take legal action against the bus company to seek compensation for their damages.

    However, suing a commercial bus company for negligence is not always straightforward and involves several challenges. First, a detailed investigation is required to gather evidence that proves the bus company’s failure to meet its duty of care. This might involve reviewing maintenance records, driver employment files, and obtaining witness statements.

    Moreover, commercial bus companies often have robust legal teams and insurance coverage designed to minimize payouts, making it essential for you to have a skilled legal team to fight for your rights and obtain the compensation you deserve.

    Can the Government or Municipality Be Held Liable for a New York City Bus Accident?

    At the core of government or municipal liability lies the doctrine of “sovereign immunity,” a legal principle that shields government entities from being sued without their consent. However, this immunity is not absolute.

    Over time, federal and state legislatures have carved out exceptions, allowing citizens to hold governments accountable under specific circumstances, including vehicle accidents caused by their employees. According to the Court of Claims Act § 8, claims can be made against the state for damages or injuries caused by the negligent or wrongful act of any state employee or agent acting within the scope of their employment.

    As such, “vicarious liability” is a pivotal concept in understanding how government agencies can be held responsible for bus accidents. This legal doctrine attributes an employee’s actions to their employer if those actions were performed in the course of employment. Thus, when a city-operated bus is involved in an accident because of the driver’s negligence, the municipality can be held vicariously liable for the driver’s actions.

    The rationale behind vicarious liability is twofold: it ensures that victims have recourse to compensation from financially stable entities, and it incentivizes employers to implement rigorous training and oversight mechanisms. In New York City bus accidents, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) or other municipal transportation agencies might be held vicariously liable for their employees’ negligent acts.

    The biggest hurdle to suing a government bus company is the notice requirement. According to the General Municipal Law § 50-e, individuals intending to file a claim for personal injury must serve a notice of claim upon the appropriate entity within 90 days of the accident. This notice must detail the nature of the claim, the time and place where the incident occurred, and the injuries sustained. Failure to file this notice in time will prevent you from filing a lawsuit later.

    Can Other Drivers Be Held Responsible for a Bus Accident in New York City?

    Other drivers can indeed be held liable for a New York City bus accident if their actions contributed to the incident. This could result from various behaviors, such as speeding, failing to yield to the bus, or violating some other law that leads to a collision with a bus.

    New York operates under a comparative negligence system, which means that more than one party can be held liable for an accident based on their percentage of fault. This principle applies to bus accidents where multiple drivers, including the bus driver and those operating other vehicles, might share responsibility.

    One of the significant challenges in bus accident cases involving other drivers is this apportionment of fault. With multiple parties involved, each might have a different perspective on the events leading up to the accident. Further, insurers and defense attorneys might use this to minimize their clients’ liability, complicating your case.

    That is why a thorough investigation is typically necessary to determine liability in these complex cases. This includes collecting and analyzing evidence like traffic camera footage, eyewitness testimonies, police reports, and vehicle damage reports. Advanced techniques, such as accident reconstruction, might also be necessary to illustrate the dynamics of the crash and pinpoint responsibility.

    Our New York City Bus Accident Attorneys Can Help You Get Compensation from the Parties Liable for Your Injuries

    For a free case evaluation with our New York City personal injury attorneys, contact The Carrion Law Firm by calling (718) 841-0083.